The Warwick Police Athletic League just held an open house for it’s new boxing program at On the Ropes in Warwick … and I believe that this is beyond good news for the city.
I’ve never boxed so I can’t give you much perspective as a former fighter or coach, but as someone that is a big boxing and MMA fan, and who has covered the sport to a degree in the past, this is something that I believe will be a great thing for Warwick.
After talking to members of PAL as well as the staff at On the Ropes, their target age group for this program is kids and young adults. Their hope is to not only provide the city with a program to teach the basics of the sport, but to hopefully create a culture at PAL that gives people the chance to experience a sport that provides so much more than what you see in the ring.
First off, boxing requires an extreme level of discipline.
As we all know, boxing is not a soft sport. Although it is a science that takes years of training to become fluent in, the basic idea is simple … hit or be hit.
When dealing with a sport that can be ruthless and dangerous like boxing, it requires an intense amount of training in order to compete and remain safe. Whether it is learning the techniques, getting in boxing shape, or even just having enough rounds of sparring to get a feel for what it is like to deal with the physicality, just competing in the sport takes so much work. Teaching kids the importance of hard work and discipline is critical in today’s world, and boxing is about as effective of a way to teach that through athletics.
Another great thing that boxing teaches is fitness. It may not seem like much, it may just look like two fighters using their arms to compete, but it is so much more than that. Not only does boxing require throwing punches, but it entails precise footwork, head movement, body control, fast hands, as well as thinking fast and being naturally reactive. This is kind of an old cliché that I have heard many times when discussing this topic, but I dare anyone that isn’t a fitness junkie to go outside in their yard and throw punches while bouncing on their feet for 12, three-minute rounds … it’s not as easy as you’d think, especially when considering boxers have someone across from them swinging away. The difference between being in shape, and being in fighting shape is quite drastic, so to introduce young kids and adults to that level of fitness is great.
The last big thing that I think that boxing provides is a two-fold item … boxing teaches self-defense, as well as self-confidence.
Whether it is boxing, karate, jiu-jitsu, or any type of martial art, teaching kids self-defense is something that I believe is important on so many levels, outside of just being able to keep themselves safe. Giving kids the confidence to know that they can protect themselves, and to provide kids with a regimen to stay active, in shape, and to work hard, it gives them a great feeling of pride and accomplishment that I feel not enough youngsters have nowadays. I love all sports, but martial arts teach life lessons that most other sports simply can’t.
The PAL boxing program is still very much in the early stages. It hosted open houses last weekend, and will continue to host introductory classes. The boxing season does not officially start until next fall, so it will take a little while for the program to truly take off.
I am a firm believer that sports teach life lessons to young kids that other activities cannot. As a sports fan, my biased take is that there is no better way to socialize kids than with sports, and when the day comes that I have children of my own, I will make sure to get them involved at an early age then of course, let them find their own way as they get older.
Although I have never been a boxer, I can say with full confidence that boxing is one of the best sports in the world, especially when it comes to teaching life lessons and skills to young kids. Sure, it is certainly not a sport for the faint of heart, and I would definitely have my worries as a parent (or I would assume), but there are just so many great things that come from boxing that I think are sometimes overshadowed by the physicality of the sport … and when you really think about it, is it really that much more brutal than say football, or hockey? No one enjoys being hit in the head or gut, but in my eyes, boxing is just as physical as these other sports.
If you are a parent that is reluctant to sign your child up in a boxing program, I totally understand and do no blame you at all. There are other sports that teach the importance of hard work and exercise that don’t require that level of punishment. Not that I believe these kids are going to be going through training camps the way that we saw Stallone do it in Rocky IV, but I can see why caregivers would be hesitant.
However, from what I have seen and heard regarding youth boxing programs, and from what I have seen with the new PAL program, I would at least suggest looking into what they have to offer, assuming your child is interested of course. There are so many great things that boxing has to offer, even if you are not climbing through the ropes and competing.